[Review] The Flash (2014) – 1×16: “Rogue Time”

Kevin and Bethany are prepared for a little quality time with family this week. Glide on over and have some punch, because it’s time to take a look at CW’s The Flash.


KEVIN

I’m somewhat upset with Google right now. I bought the S3 Season Pass the same way I bought the S2 one, but it’s not giving me the episodes the morning after so that I can download and watch them on my way to work. The season premiere showed up on Friday afternoon, and as of this writing – Wednesday morning – 3×02 has not yet appeared.2

Yes, I can watch it tonight on the CW App, but that’s not the point. I want these on my Google Play account.1 I paid money for them. Come on, Google, give me a break here. Or even just an explanation.

Ah well. I can wait a few days. Just means I’ll have to avoid everyone else’s hot takes.

Speaking of hot takes, Cisco is in handcuffs this episode and Heat Wave punches him in the face.

Though this episode is old, spoiler warnings are still in effect after the cut.

First off, I want to point out that anything Evil Science Dad says about time travel and the catastrophic events therein should be highly suspect. They don’t call attention to it, and in fact the narrative intends for we, the viewers, to take what he says at face value because clearly the evil time traveler has successfully traveled through time; he knows what he’s talking about, right?

That falls apart when you realize that the evil time traveler has successfully traveled through time. And not only that, has altered the timeline to suit his own needs.

Eobard Thawne has a project going. One that depends on Barry not fucking up the timestream. Of course he’s going to say anything he can to dissuade Barry from fucking up the timestream.

I mean, the Law of Conservation of History might be a thing, but it doesn’t apply to any of what occurs in the 36-hour reset. Nothing that happens can be explained by Time Fucking With Barry Specifically.

To wit:

  • Len Snart and Mick Rory were already in town, gunning for the local mafia don and his palatial mansion. We know this because Lisa broke them out of custody way back ages ago. They just had a chance to start their shit because Weather Wizard didn’t try to destroy the city.
  • Dante Ramon’s birthday never changed. We just saw it this time around because…nobody was evacuating the city.
  • Evil Science Dad was actually giving Barry effective advice, reminding him that Iris confessed her feelings after her dad was in danger and…once again, the city was about to be destroyed.

You know what I think? I think if Barry hadn’t had a bunch of shit dropped on his lap – shit that was well overdue, honestly – a certain Man In Yellow would have shown up to be The Timeline Bringing Back Something Even Worse.

You know he would have. You absolutely know he would have.

It’s interesting, though. We’re seeing a lot of conflict from Evil Science Dad lately. He tries to stay aloof when Barry pours his heart out to him, but he can’t help but give him actual good advice regarding Iris. He’s been callous and even cruel to Cisco in the past for putting Barry at risk, but this time around he makes a point to comfort Cisco, to persuade him to come back into the fold.

(Granted, the way he does it skeeves me the fuck out every time I watch this episode. I dare you to watch that scene, right after watching the previous episode, and not have full alarm bells going off.3)

Things are certainly coming to a head, and Barry’s fully on board the suspicion train by the end of the episode. We’re heading into the home stretch, people, and I hope you didn’t pay for your whole seats because you’ll only. need. the edge.

Things to note this episode:

  • Gosh, I love Lisa Snart. Her appearances on future episodes are just as amazing. I really hope she comes back for Season Three; she’s so great.
    • Also super hot but what do you expect, this is a CW show, everyone has to be conventionally attractive.
    • Okay I’m just saying, Barry takes Len off the motorcycle, at full speed, and after only half a second of visible reaction time she swings herself out of the sidecar and tries to stabilize it without crashing.
    • It still crashes, but that’s not the point, the point is how badass was that
  • I wonder if, in some universe, Lisa Snart is an engineer. Because I know more than a few lady engineers and they’re all awesome.
  • Leonard Snart is a cat. He’s always lounging about, looking way too pleased with himself.
  • Before we get into any discussion on “how does her gun create gold”, keep in mind that she said she also wanted it to be toxic. So I’m thinking it’s a pressurized liquid that solidifies when it hits the air. Like Silly String.
    • Gold, toxic, evil Silly String.
  • Seriously, Harribard bringing Cisco down to the trap room just about stopped my heart again. And I knew what happened since I’ve seen this episode a couple times before.
  • “In many ways, you have shown me what it’s like to have a son.” jegus fuck thawne what the shit is wrong with you
  • “Lightning Psychosis.” Caitlin is the best.

BETHANY

Can we talk for a minute about really pat resolutions to deep-running family issues in television? Because it’s really common and really, really irresponsible. You’ll hear stuff like “oh, but they’re still your family” “he’s still your dad” “she’s still your mom” and then at the end someone just verbally rationalizes why they’ve always treated their kid/sibling/whomever like crap and it’s somehow mysteriously okay and all wrapped up and over.

This episode leaves that a little more ambiguous than most television does, but it feels like they were implying it, and I object.

(Also, what’s the likelihood that the Ramon parents Just Not Getting Cisco and his tech career is due to racism? It feels like the way the family conflict was set up is…hmm, fishy to me.)

I do wish Dante and Cisco had strictly spoken Spanish with each other the whole time they were captive, though. That one little scene they did it was nice; I just wish they’d done more of it.

Um, moving on – lightning psychosis…why is “lie to Iris West” always the solution?

I’ll be honest, this “Barry loves Iris” plot line has gotten so on my nerves that both times I watched this episode, I muted the “coffee date” scene where Barry tries to get Iris to admit her unspoken love for him. I caught the end of the scene where she tells Barry to quit making her the bad guy, but I ignored the rest. (Ignoring those few lines of dialogue has not actually made a significant difference in my understanding of the episode because I know the gist, given how insufferably smug Barry is about the whole thing in the lead-up to it.)

(Seriously, he’s so obnoxious.)

And then Eddie punches him in the face. Barry’s supposed to be his friend. He’s supposed to be Iris’s friend. Eddie is nice enough that I don’t think this is “don’t touch my stuff” but rather “quit hurting someone I care about you dick”. Otherwise I wouldn’t find this punch so oddly satisfying.

I normally would have bigger issues with this but, honestly, Barry kinda earned this one. Though really, Iris should get the first shot.



And instead of Barry talking to them both and saying “look, guys, I’m really sorry. I screwed up today. I shouldn’t have said what I said to Iris. I’m still trying to sort out how I feel, and it…I screwed up. Really, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again”, Caitlin made up a fake (mental) illness to account for Barry’s ~strange behavior~.

You know what I mean? Just feels wrong.

The real struggle of this episode is that the previous episode was building to something serious and almost epic, and this episode kinda feels like…you ever go down a set of stairs and you hit the bottom but you think there’s one more and you almost fall? This episode feels like that. And I think it’s supposed to, in some sense – certainly Barry faces that disorientation when he slips backwards in the timeline. But…I dunno. It has its bright spots, but there’s enough in this episode that’s too awkward or uncomfortable or unpleasant for me to actually give it a pass.

To avoid being too much of a downer, here’s a thematically appropriate fun fact: for those who were unaware, Carlos Valdes does music.

Kevin O’Shea is a writer and terrified of motorcycles. You can find him on Twitter (@osheamobile), Tumblr (osheamobile), or seeing a therapist for his Lightning Psychosis.

Bethany the Martian is an abuser of parentheses and works in the Pizza Mines. She can be found on Twitter (@martianbethany) and on Tumblr (bethanythemartian).

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  1. Yes, I know that I can put in for a refund and have what’s currently there removed from my account. Yes, I know that iTunes and Amazon Prime have the episodes next-day, the way that Google should be doing. But my Season 2 is on Google Play and the bonus features are all included with the Season Passes and I want to keep everything all together.
  2. Unimportant Update: The episode was posted Thursday afternoon. Still not next-day, but also not the following weekend like the season premiere. I was able to watch it on the train as the Speed Force intended.
  3. WHY ARE YOU TAKING CISCO TO THE MURDER ROOM, EOBARD? WHY ARE YOU SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING YOU SAID BEFORE YOU KILLED HIM, EOBARD?

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